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Collaborative spell casting (long).

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Anonymous
May 17, 2005 7:19:42 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Wizards and Priests casting spells collaboratively has been a feature of
my campaign for sometime. It has been handled in the background but I'm
going to need to create the system before too long. This is a quick
attempt at a system. Comments appreciated (except from all the RGFD kooks)
especially if something similar and better appears in a supplement and
I've missed it. It is very long and you may want to have your morning
coffee before tackling it. I should have had mine before I wrote it.

------

Circle Magic

The power manifested by the agents of the gods or manipulators of arcane
are awesome enough when practiced by individuals but the power they wield
as a group can shake cities, continents and even worlds.

What does it do

Circle magic allows spell casters to collaborate and enhance the potency
of any spell available to its members. Power can be enhanced beyond the
levels individuals are capable of creating but it comes with limitations.

To participate in a circle, casting individuals must have access to the
spell that is being cast. They must be able to either spontaneously cast
the spell or be capable of preparing it (see below for special exceptions)
and when a spell is cast all members of the circle lose a spell of that
level as if they had cast it for the day. Finally casting circles must
either consist of all arcane caster or all divine casters and a maximum of
10 casters can form a single circle.

The Spells

Any spell can be cast by a circle with the exception of those with a Range
of 0 or touch or spells that normally only affect the caster. The caster
level of the spell is determined as follows;

Base = Highest Caster level of individual in the circle + (1/3 * total
level) of all other participants (fractions rounded down)

Example: A divine circle containing one 10th level Cleric and his four 5th
level followers has a caster level of 10 + (1/3 * 20) = 16. As a circle
they may enhance spells of 3rd level and below.

Concentration: If any member has their concentration interrupted they may
make a check as normal. Failure means the spell is disrupted for the
entire circle and all slots are expended.

Components: Spells with components need only one "set" with the exception
of XP costs which all circle members must pay.

Casting Time: The casting time for any spell used by a circle is 1 round
per member or the normal casting time for an individual caster, whichever
is higher.

Range: As normal with the enhanced caster level.

Area of Effect: As normal with the enhanced caster level.

Aiming: The individual with the highest caster level determines the target
of the spell or point of origin etc.

Duration: As normal with the enhanced caster level.

Effect: As normal with the enhanced caster level. In some cases spells
place an upper limit on level variable effects. In such instances casting
circles can ignore these limitations.

Example: A circle with a caster level of 30 can cast a fireball that does
30d6 damage. Likewise a Dispel Magic check from the same group checks at
1d20 + 30.

Special: Some spells, like Fabricate, require a craft check for high
quality items. In that case use the highest check from among those
individuals involved.

Metamagic Feats: Appropriate metamagic feats can be used if a single
individual in the circle is capable of using it. Each member must be able
to cast the spell at the new level however.

Other casters contributing

If a circle isn't filled by those casters with available slots then other
casters may act as assistants (although the Arcane/Divine limitation
applies) and they count towards the ten maximum members. An assistant adds
one to the caster level of the spell but must be capable of casting spells
one level lower than the one to be enhanced (for which a slot is
expended). Assistants are not required to pay any XP costs required by the
spell and broken concentration does not end the spell like it does for a
full member. A caster can choose to assist even if they could normally
participate fully.

Example: A circle containing 1 10th level Wizard, his 2 5th level
assistants and his 7 3rd level apprentices wishes to enhance a fireball
spell. Their effective caster level = 10 + (1/3 * 10) + 7 = 20.

A detailed look

A wizards guild wishes to summon a powerful servant and collaborates to
use a Gate spell. The guild contains 1 20th level wizard, 3 18th level and
6 15th level. To cast a Gate spell the 15th level casters can only assist.

The caster level of the spell is 44. The four higher level caster must pay
1000xp each and sacrifice a 9th level slot (the assistants lose an 8th
level one) but they may control a single powerful creature of up to 88 HD
or individual creatures totalling 44HD.

The same circle is contracted to create a monument of the king in short
time scale constructed entirely from stone. When casting the fabricate
spell their caster level is 68 and they use the check of the best stone
mason. As a circle they can create a monument up to 68 cubic foot is size.

Other functions of a circle

When two religions break out into open hostilities or two nations go to
war their high level casters don't waste time taking to the field with the
armies but prepare for the onslaught that will inevitably come from their
opposition counterparts. Likewise circles are used by Wizard guilds to
publish errant members or factions.

Offensive Circle

To form an offensive circle a full ten members must be used (no
assistants) and each must be capable of casting Scry (and so have an
appropriate slot available). This slot is lost during the preparation.

Preparing an offensive circle takes a total of 24 hours and at the
beginning of that time a target spell caster or casting circle must be
designated. The target must be located via the Scry spell and a failure
means that the slot is lost for all members of the circle although once a
target is initially located further Scrying counter measures are
ineffective. A target individual or group is immediately aware of the
coming attack and the caster level of the attacking circle, an offensive
group is only aware of the defending circles caster level once the dual
has begun. As normal Arcane and Divine casters cannot collaborate but they
can attack and defend themselves from one another.

Defensive Circle

Formed against an offensive circle a defensive circle can contain any
number of members from 1 up to the normal maximum of 10. Nobody can act in
an assistant role. Preparation takes 12 hours but if that preparation is
interrupted and cannot be resumed and/or completed before the offensive
attacks take place then members can be targeted as individuals and cannot
counter attack (see passive defence below).

Once offensive preparations are complete the dual begins.

Spell energy.

Each circle has a level of spell energy each to the total number of spell
levels they have available to cast (do not forget the deduction for the
Scry spell). Their joint caster level is calculated as normal. A single
assault cannot use more than half a circles remaining spell energy with a
minimum expenditure of one level. A circle that has no spell energy cannot
attack.

The contest starts with the offensive circle declaring the level of spell
energy they wish to use then making an attack (1d20 + caster level)
against the defending circles defensive value (10 + caster level). A
defensive circle whose preparations were interrupted must defend as
individuals and a single attack can target all original participants.

If the defensive value is higher than the offensive value the designated
spell energy is deleted (see below) and the attack is over. Otherwise the
defending circle loses a level of energy determined as; Attacker energy
allotment + (offensive value - defensive value). The attacking circle
loses the spell energy they allocated to the attack. Once completed the
defenders counter attack and this cycle is repeated.

Breaking an attack

A circle conflict can only be broken if both sides are willing or both run
out of spell energy. If one circle has remaining spell energy and their
opponents do not then they can opt to withdraw at will.

Losing spell energy

Losing spell energy means losing spell levels for the participants
involved. Each point of spell energy means losing one spell level and each
participant must lose at least one point each time the group is attacked
(unless spell energy damage or spell energy used in an attack is less
than the number of members). Apart from that restriction each circle can
deduct spell levels as desired but a spell caster who loses, for example,
one spell level and has no remaining 1st level slots loses a spell slot of
the next available level. Each attack and counterattack takes 10 minutes
each so circle duals can take significant amounts of time to resolve.

Spell level depletion

Once a caster involved in a dual runs out of spell energy they take mental
damage equal to 1d8 per spell level used (Will save versus DC 30 for
half). Such duals can quickly become lethal for weaker spell casters.
Magical healing or assistance during this time breaks them from the circle
if applicable.

Passive Defence

A defending individual or defensive circle can opt to make a passive
defence at any time before the offensive attacks begin. They are unable to
make counterattacks but once their spell energy is depleted they do not
take physical damage. Instead they continue to lose double the remaining
damage from their spell slot allocation until all damage is accounted for.
Thus a powerful circle could prevent a passive individual from casting
spells for days or even weeks at a time.

Example (ignoring spells for bonus stats)

An offensive circle (1 14th level caster and 9 10th level) collaborates to
attack an individual spell caster (20th level) who is able to form a
circle with an additional two 10th level allies within the allotted time.
Neither side had cast any spells during the day. They successfully locate
their target and each loses a first level slot.

Offensive circle CL = 14 + (1/3 * 90) = 34.
Spell energy 14th level Wizard =
(4*1)+(4*2)+(4*3)+((4-1)*4)+(3*5)+(3*6)+(2*7) - 4 = 83
Each 10th level Wizard = (4*1)+(4*2)+(3*3)+((3-1)*4)+(2*5) = 39

Total = 83 + (9*39)= 434

Defensive circle CL = 20 + (1/3 * 20) = 26.
Spell energy 20th level Wizard= (4*1)+(4*2)+(4*3)+(4*4)+
(4*5)+(4*6)+(4*7)+(4*8)+(4*9) = 180
Each 10th level Wizard = (4*1)+(4*2)+(3*3)+(3*4)+(2*5) = 43

Total = 180 + (2*43)= 266

Despite being heavily outgunned the defending circle opts to defend
normally. Confident with their number the OC expends 100 levels of energy
in their initial assault. Rolling 10 on the d20 their offensive roll = 10
+ 34 =44 versus the defenders 36. They inflict 108 levels of spell energy
damage deducting 100 roughly equally from their members. The 20th level
caster opts to absorb the bulk of this attack and deducts 106 spell levels
from his pool. Each of his allies lose 1 each. Their energy pool is now
160. They choose to expend 80 in the counter assault. Rolling 20 + 26 =46
versus their opponents defence of 44. This cycle continues with the
smaller circle almost certainly doomed to destruction.

Before the first attack was launched the defenders could have more
sensibly opted for a passive defence saving their lives at the cost of
their spell casting abilities (probably for some time).
Anonymous
May 17, 2005 7:19:43 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

I think that Collaborative spell casting was Two or More Spellcasters
casting different but compatible spells for unique effects. There are
rules 3.5v for binding things but you're going epic...
-Dragonkat
Anonymous
May 17, 2005 9:01:38 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

For the Scarred Lands campaign, Relics & Rituals delves into ritual
magic. I don't know if it has an SRD. I know there is a Relics &
Rituals II, but I believe it is in the first one. The downside is that
it was written for 3.0 compatability. They probably did write a 3.5
update, but I don't think it would be too much of a problem if they
didn't. Any discrepancy, such as DR references, can easily be
converted. The book has some ritual spells as well as rules for
casting the regular spells in a ritual way.

3.5 has the Cooperative Spell feat whereby spellcasters with the feat
together cast the same spell, that increases the save DC and caster
level to overcome SR as the number of spellcasters participating
increases. It's in Complete Arcane. It pretty much is a useless Feat
for PC. The only reason any player character would take it is if they
want to go into the Mage Of The Arcane Order prestige class.

Gerald Katz
Related resources
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 3:38:18 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Two spells, say druid & wizard, were used years ago in a Greyhawk/Gygax
paperback book. I believe it used firey acorns as traps...I believe it
was the one with the fire chariot on the cover.
-Dragonkat
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 3:53:40 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Hadsil" <forumite@netzero.com> wrote in message
news:1116374498.717170.226540@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
> For the Scarred Lands campaign, Relics & Rituals delves into ritual
> magic. I don't know if it has an SRD. I know there is a Relics &
> Rituals II, but I believe it is in the first one. The downside is that
> it was written for 3.0 compatability. They probably did write a 3.5
> update, but I don't think it would be too much of a problem if they
> didn't. Any discrepancy, such as DR references, can easily be
> converted. The book has some ritual spells as well as rules for
> casting the regular spells in a ritual way.

I'll take a look if I can find it. Thanks.

> 3.5 has the Cooperative Spell feat whereby spellcasters with the feat
> together cast the same spell, that increases the save DC and caster
> level to overcome SR as the number of spellcasters participating
> increases. It's in Complete Arcane. It pretty much is a useless Feat
> for PC. The only reason any player character would take it is if they
> want to go into the Mage Of The Arcane Order prestige class.

I have that book and missed it obviously. Sounds like I want something
more thorough though. Campaign background and all that.
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 3:54:36 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Dragonkat" <dragonkat2flame@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:1116357301.138334.53670@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> I think that Collaborative spell casting was Two or More Spellcasters
> casting different but compatible spells for unique effects.

Do you mean you seen rules like this somewhere else?
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 4:36:19 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Hadsil wrote:
> 3.5 has the Cooperative Spell feat whereby spellcasters with the feat
> together cast the same spell, that increases the save DC and caster
> level to overcome SR as the number of spellcasters participating
> increases. It's in Complete Arcane. It pretty much is a useless Feat
> for PC. The only reason any player character would take it is if they
> want to go into the Mage Of The Arcane Order prestige class.

And I flipped through the PHB, and the Aid Other gives a 'good enough' type of
what you may be looking for.

Your idea seems best for big groups, which may not come into play for PC's often
enough.
--
"... respect, all good works are not done by only good folk ..."
--till next time, Jameson Stalanthas Yu -x- <<poetry.dolphins-cove.com>>
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 1:40:25 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"~consul" <consul@INVALIDdolphins-cove.com> wrote in message
news:D 6g5fm$ed7$2@gist.usc.edu...
> Hadsil wrote:
> > 3.5 has the Cooperative Spell feat whereby spellcasters with the feat
> > together cast the same spell, that increases the save DC and caster
> > level to overcome SR as the number of spellcasters participating
> > increases. It's in Complete Arcane. It pretty much is a useless Feat
> > for PC. The only reason any player character would take it is if they
> > want to go into the Mage Of The Arcane Order prestige class.
>
> And I flipped through the PHB, and the Aid Other gives a 'good enough'
type of
> what you may be looking for.
>
> Your idea seems best for big groups, which may not come into play for
PC's often
> enough.

FWIW I haven't needed a system until recently. It has been background
gubbins until now but for one reason and another it looks like it will
come into play soon.
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 9:53:44 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Symbol" <jb70@talk21.com> wrote in
news:6KednaK9xNUUYBTfRVnyvw@pipex.net:

> Wizards and Priests casting spells collaboratively has been a
> feature of my campaign for sometime

Why don't you just use the Aid Another rule? Or, as Hadsil notes, the
Cooperative Spell Feat.

> and a maximum of 10 casters can form a single circle.

13 is the usual.

This stuff doesn't seem particularly PC-oriented.
Anonymous
May 20, 2005 3:17:03 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

"Quentin Stephens" <stq@stq.gro.ku.invalid> wrote in message
news:Xns965BC0377A749stqstqstq@130.133.1.4...

> This stuff doesn't seem particularly PC-oriented.

It isn't. As I originally said its campaign background stuff that the PCs
are likely to have a brief flirtation with in the near future.

Those feats might make a reasonable starting point but they don't do what
I need. Plus, remote circles fighting each other is important as that's
how it will be introduced.
Anonymous
May 20, 2005 3:17:04 PM

Archived from groups: rec.games.frp.dnd (More info?)

Symbol wrote:
> It isn't. As I originally said its campaign background stuff that the PCs
> are likely to have a brief flirtation with in the near future.
>
> Those feats might make a reasonable starting point but they don't do what
> I need. Plus, remote circles fighting each other is important as that's
> how it will be introduced.

You might make it more appealing for PC's, if you want, by making it like what I
saw for the combat feat trees, where there are say, 3 really useful ones, and
one lone, use only once every 5 encounters type of feat, but with that 4th one,
it synergizes into a use that is pretty cool for those even rarer big tactical
hoohahs.
--
"... respect, all good works are not done by only good folk ..."
--till next time, Jameson Stalanthas Yu -x- <<poetry.dolphins-cove.com>>
!